The Lancashire Forum Creative is an exciting new business, leadership, and innovation development programme for SME’s, we’ve sat down with Project Manager, Elena Vasilieva, to find out more about the scheme.

The Lancashire Forum Creative aims to provide expert-led, industry-relevant training, which will allow your business to grow and get ahead of the competition! This kind of programmes gives participants’ confidence in their abilities to run the business. The programme is fully funded to ERDF eligible businesses, based in Lancashire.  If you are a small business wanting to gain transferable skills in order to help you increase revenue, this is an incredible opportunity which can’t be missed! The Lancashire Forum Creative will be delivered at UCLan's campuses in Preston and Burnley.

Here Elena tells us about the biggest challenges which SME’s are facing, the highlights of the program and what she hopes the scheme will achieve!

The Lancashire Forum Creative is a brand-new programme, where did the idea come from?

It came from previously successful business and leadership development programme called LEAD, however the programme was developed based on participants feedback from the launch of the programme – during the launch event, back in May, we ran a think tank/workshop event for creative and digital SMEs to find out what they are looking for from this programme.

What are the highlights of the program?

The Lancashire Forum Creative will provide you with expert-led, industry- relevant learning that focuses on business. By engaging in this program you will gain many rewarding skills and advice in many important areas. Firstly, the ability to innovate and create through collaboration within a network of peers. Secondly, Leadership development and how to grow your business. Thirdly, ideas on how to improve productivity and maintain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, support and challenge from a like-minded community.

What do you hope the Lancashire Forum Creative will achieve?

We hope that the Lancashire Forum Creative will achieve fantastic success! This can be in the form of increasing growth capacity and enhancing the competitiveness of participating SMEs. Also, by helping to increase levels of innovation we hope to increase the ‘innovation ecosystem’ in Lancashire.

What are the biggest challenges facing Lancashire based SMEin the digital and creative industry?

As with all industries, there are challenges to overcome in order to succeed. Creative and Digital sectors face common challenges. The rapid change caused by the digital shift and globalisation can affect some businesses. With economic uncertainty and a struggling market it can be difficult to secure finance and support. A shortage of digital skills means that it can sometimes be hard to find the right people for the role. As digital and creative skills continue to be in demand they can become blurred. It’s important that you understand the differences so you know what you are getting!

Finally Elena, if you could use three terms to describe the programme, what would they be?

Industry focused, Bespoke & flexible, Interactive.

If you feel this is an excellent opportunity for your business, don’t hesitate to apply and be part of the next cohort commencing February 2018. For more information on eligibility, click here.

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